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UNC receives NIH grant to develop and test new drugs to block HIV infection
Date:7/18/2011

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. Scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill schools of medicine and pharmacy have been awarded a $3 million federal grant to develop and test a new generation of treatments aimed at preventing sexual transmission of HIV to uninfected individuals. This remains the most common cause of HIV infection worldwide.

The new NIAID award is entitled Next Generation Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP. "This project combines the strengths of four outstanding investigators with highly complementary skills, at UNC and our industrial partner, Merck," said J. Victor Garcia-Martinez, PhD, the project's principal investigator and professor of medicine, and a member of UNC's Center for Infectious Diseases and Center for AIDS Research.

Project collaborators with Garcia-Martinez are Angela Kashuba, PharmD, associate professor, and Russell Mumper, PhD, McNeill Distinguished Professor, both in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, and Daria Hazuda, PhD, at Merck Research Laboratories. Merck will not receive federal funding from this award. "We will address issues of fundamental importance to the next generation of PrEP agents," Garcia-Martinez said.

The new grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) follows the July 11 announcement of a $32 million award from the agency to UNC to lead scientists from eight other universities in the search for ways to purge hidden HIV from the immune systems of infected patients taking antiretroviral therapy.

"This new award serves as further testament to the outstanding environment for conducting state-of-the-art AIDS research at UNC and will strengthen the close ties between our programs in medicine and pharmacy," Garcia-Martinez said.

According to Garcia-Martinez, significant progress has been made in developing measures to prevent HIV infection, but recent results of clinical trials reveal that "the level of protection observed is suboptimal
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Contact: Les Lang
llang@med.unc.edu
919-966-9366
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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UNC receives NIH grant to develop and test new drugs to block HIV infection
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